May 29, 2021

The Conversation (Queen’s University, Canada) – Izzeldin Abuelaish
Why hatred should be considered a contagious disease

This commentary is offered in the context of the Palestinian / Jewish conflict but can obviously be understood in the most any context of long simmering hatreds.  “Hatred and violence have considerable costs in terms of human health and life. Hatred should be acknowledged as a contagious disease, a public health issue and a determinant of health because prevention is needed — and because of the limited health-care resources available to fight it.”  Abuelaish, and many others, struggle with a scientific definition of hatred but acknowledge that hatred grows both vertically and horizontally generationally among people and is much more than an emotion.  He wants a public health approach.  https://theconversation.com/why-hatred-should-be-considered-a-contagious-disease-161163?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%2027%202021&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20May%2027%202021+CID_ff5c2d21fb09e65da324141e34be74d0&utm_source=campaign_monitor_ca&utm_term=Why%20hatred%20should%20be%20considered%20a%20contagious%20disease

Globe and Mail – Adrian Morrow
One year after George Floyd’s murder: Progress, problems and frustration with the pace of police reforms – One year after the death of George Floyd sparked racial justice protests across the United States, changes to policing have seen varying levels of success and backlash

The link is a Canadian perspective on the progress of police reform in the US – some advances and some delays.  The article is in both aural podcast and written transcript and offers a comprehensive view as well of the issues around police defunding, and some of the ‘slight of accounting’ to explain local efforts to curb police and substitute social services.  Has the US stalled out already?    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/us-politics/article-one-year-after-george-floyds-murder-progress-problems-and-frustration/  Related article: BBC News (US desk) – Sam Cabral   Does a $75m settlement make up for three decades in prison? https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-57152860  Related article: Ms. Magazine (US) – Tyra Patterson  “Second Chances” for Those Released From Prison Implies They’ve Been Given a First – We survive the dehumanization of incarceration only to come home to face even more barriers to success—perpetuating the cycle of poverty. https://msmagazine.com/2021/05/24/second-chance-released-from-prison-jobs-education-cycle-of-poverty-criminal-justice/  Related article: TV 6 (US)  (Lansing, MI)  Executive Order signed to create Michigan Jail Reform Advisory Council – The bipartisan council will work to implement changes and goals laid out by the Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.  https://www.uppermichiganssource.com/2021/04/21/executive-order-signed-to-create-michigan-jail-reform-advisory-council/?utm_campaign=2021-05-25+PSPP&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Pew

YES Magazine (US) – Josie Duffy Rice & Mariame Kaba & Reina Sultan
What Does Accountability Look Like Without Punishment?

For a while now, the social media and news media have been alive with speculation about defunding the police or about taking some funding from police for social response to crisis.  Is there really a few bad apples or are we at the point where the few bad apples have created a structural problem that needs a more exhaustive solution than picking out the few bad apples?  This is an exchange between two advocates and abolitionists – Josie Duffy Rice and Mariame Kaba – to replace vengeance and punishment with accountability in the face of harm.  They also confront all the panic responses to using police differently. https://www.yesmagazine.org/opinion/2021/05/25/abolition-accountability-without-punishment

  Tracking the Politics of Criminalization and Punishment in Canada – Justin Piché
More Than 8,500 COVID-19 Cases Linked to Canadian Carceral Institutions

Here is a report on the Covid-19 impact on Canadian prisons, updated to May 26, 2021.  The analysis includes both federal and provincial jails, and the Canadian Border Services, and those not reporting.  http://tpcp-canada.blogspot.com/2021/05/more-than-8100-covid-19-cases-linked-to.html?m=1&s=03  Related article:  The Appeal (US) – Rachel M. Cohen  The Pandemic Spurred Governors to Grant Clemency, But Advocates Say It Isn’t Enough – Despite sentencing reforms, hundreds of thousands of people who have been incarcerated over the last several decades are ineligible for parole.  https://theappeal.org/the-pandemic-spurred-governors-to-grant-clemency-but-advocates-say-it-isnt-enough/

Ottawa Crime Prevention – Tana Turner, Turner Consulting Group Inc.
Examining Barriers to Employment for Young Men with Criminal Records

The methodology is a review of the literature and a series of interviews with prospective employees who bring a criminal conviction with them to job interviews, if it even gets that far.  The recommendations are summarized on pp 3-4 and the full report follows on p. 5.  There is no question of more money – just better use of resources already in place, but a credible ‘bigger bang for the buck.”    https://www.crimepreventionottawa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Examining-Barriers-to-Employment-for-Young-Men-with-Criminal-Records.pdf

The Intercept (US) – Lauren Gill
Prosecutors Ignored Evidence of Her Estranged Husband’s Abuse. She Faces 25 Years in Prison for Murder.  Advocates for domestic violence survivors are pointing to Tracy McCarter’s case as they push Manhattan DA candidates to pledge reform.

There is an on-going debate about domestic violence in this case and a further effort to take advantage of a political moment when the district attorney is replaced to pursue reform in the office responsible for charging people.  Tracy McCarter stabbed her abuser, claimed self-defence, and Cyrus Vance charged her with first degree murder and chose to ignore the plentiful evidence of the abuse.  “With Vance set to leave office in November, McCarter’s case has emerged as a litmus test on domestic violence in the race for district attorney. Advocates for domestic violence survivors are calling on Vance’s successor to dismiss charges against McCarter and commit to refusing to prosecute similar cases. Eight of the nine candidates answered questions from The Intercept about how they would handle cases like McCarter’s. All of them said that they would introduce reforms to the prosecution of survivors of domestic violence.”  https://theintercept.com/2021/05/24/manhattan-district-attorney-domestic-violence-tracey-mccarter/

Brennan Center – Kim Taylor-Thompson
Treating All Kids as Kids – Persistent and longstanding racism has fueled harsher treatment of young Black people in the justice system.

Advocates have long pursued the legal acknowledgement that a child cannot be adequately provided with healthy outcomes within an adult court and correctional system.  Most youth advocates want the notion of youth expanded to age 25 since it is generally acknowledged that aged 18-25 is a prime age for the initial encounter with the law and one that often ore-empts other options for the lifetime of the person.  This link looks at the history and racial prejudice towards Black youth in particular and adds a sharp edge to the discussion.  “We see young Black offenders as animals or savages who engage in “wilding” behavior. The process of dehumanization turns Black children into undifferentiated objects. It deprives them of their individual features, those qualities that make them valuable and unique. Instead, we brand them as nameless predators… When we add adultification to the mix, the justice experience for Black children warps even further.”  https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/analysis-opinion/treating-all-kids-kids